Murali Vijay will look to see off the dangerous Dale Steyn   ©Getty images
Murali Vijay will look to see off the dangerous Dale Steyn ©Getty Images

After losing the Twenty20 International (T20I) and One-day International (ODI) series to South Africa, India will look to get redemption by defeating them in the Test series. The Gandhi-Mandela 2015-16 series has so far been all about South Africa, but with a change of guard India will surely try to prove a point that beating India in India is not a piece of cake. With Virat Kohli taking over the captaincy in the Test format the team will be more aggressive and much more expressive, as seen in the Sri Lanka series. Going into the Freedom series 2015-16 Kohli will want to make sure that the Test team is well-oiled and gives a tough time to the South Africans, who have been wonderful tourists for the last decade. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs South Africa 2015, 1st Test at Mohali

The Test series looks to be a mouth-watering affair, with both teams playing for supremacy. India will look to climb up to No. 2 in the Test ranking. They are currently placed No. 5, but a victory over the No. 1 ranked South Africa will boost their cause. What make this more exciting are the mini fights we will see. With the likes of Kohli, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, and Ravichandran Ashwin in the ranks it is bound have some sparks on the field. Vishal Mehra lists down key battles for the first Test at Mohali.  ALSO READ: India vs South Africa 2015 1st Test at Mohali, Preview: India look for redemption in Gandhi-Mandela Series 2015

 Murali Vijay vs Dale Steyn: Murali Vijay, who is returning from an injury, has been having the time of his life in the last couple of years, making runs all over the world.  He will want to make heaps of runs in his own backyard as well. Vijay has now cemented his place in the Test team by dishing out big hundreds against good bowling attacks. Dale Steyn, on the other hand, will look to rattle Vijay with his pace. Steyn has had a decent tour so far, and will look to bring his A-game in the Test arena as he has always done.

Virat Kohli vs Imran Tahir: India’s captain Kohli will want to bring his form back. Kohli has been prolific in Tests over the last couple of years, but was short on ODI runs prior to the series. That he got a high-class century in one of the ODIs will give him immense confidence moving to the Tests. Imran Tahir, who has been having a great year himself in the shorter formats, will look to convert his fortunes in the longer version of the game as well. Tahir will be a big threat to India, and they will want their best player of spin to neutralise him. ALSO READ: India vs South Africa 2015: 4 Proteas to watch out for in upcoming Tests

 Ravichandran Ashwin vs AB de Villiers: The war amongst the battle, Ravichandran Ashwin and AB de Villiers both are game-changers for their teams. After injury Ashwin will look to continue from where he stopped; Ashwin dismissed de Villiers in both T20Is and got injured before de Villiers could face him in the ODIs. On the other hand, de Villiers will look to undo his mistakes and stamp his authority on Ashwin, coming off a wonderful ODI series.

 Amit Mishra vs Faf Du Plessis: Amit Mishra will want to forget all the negative reports flying in the media about him and focus on just cricket. Mishra, in the Sri Lanka series, was part of India’s spin attack along with Ashwin. Du Plessis was in great form in the ODIs with three fifties and a century, and will look to keep his scoring going. ALSO READ: India vs South Africa 2015: Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane and other Indian players to watch out for

 Shikhar Dhawan vs Morne Morkel: Along with Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan is also making a comeback in the Test team post injury. Team director Ravi Shastri has showed confidence in Dhawan by saying that he is in red-hot form. Dhawan had scored two centuries in the last two Tests that he was involved in — 173 in Fatullah and 134 in Galle. However, Morne Morkel has been the Dhawan’s bane in the series. Morkel is one bowler who the Indian team needs to be wary off. With his height and accuracy he can prove to be a problem with older ball as shown in previous series.

 Umesh Yadav vs Hashim Amla: With Ishant Sharma not playing the first Test, all new-ball responsibility falls on the shoulders of Umesh Yadav, who was dropped for the final three ODIs. Standing in front will be the Wall of the South African team, Hashim Amla. Though Amla is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the modern era, he has not had a good tour of India so far, and will look to answer questions with his bat. If his record in India is anything to go by, it is just about a few balls that Amla proves his worth again in gold. ALSO READ: Hashim Amla needs to let his bat talk during upcoming India vs South Africa Test series

(Vishal Mehra is a reporter at CricketCountry, who enjoys his weekly dose of anime as refreshment for the soul and plays cricket once a white moon. His twitter handle is @vishal_oxyjinn)